May was one of my best reading months, I read 14 books, and after that I needed to slow the pace down a bit. I ended up reading 9 books in June and I hit a little bit of a reading slump. I picked up a few books that after a few chapters I had to add to the DNF list, which I really hate to do. For July, I have a few arcs I’m hoping to get through and I’m going to try not to request any new books from the library so I can get to them.
The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
I was really looking forward to this book and was so disappointed by it. On Goodreads, there are very mixed reviews on it, you either love this book or dislike it. At many points I was contemplating not finishing it, but I held at hope that it would get better, but for me it didn’t. I found the characters of Bunny and Michael very unlikeable and I felt they had so many chances to redeem themselves and did not.
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory*
After reading Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, I was going to take a break from her books since I was not liking them anymore, but gave Party of Two a chance when I got an arc from Edelweiss+. I’m so glad I gave Guillory another chance because I loved Party of Two, one of my favorites by her! I enjoyed the character of Olivia, I found her so relatable. I liked how each chapter included both Olivia and Max’s perspective and I found this to be a smart romance. You can read my full review here.
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Rodham was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and I loved it! Having only read one other book by Sittenfeld, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading about what could’ve possibly been the path Hillary’s life would’ve went in had she not married Bill Clinton. The first part of the book reads like a memoir on Hillary and Bill’s Yale Law School and Arkansas days. Once it delves into Hillary without Bill as her husband, that is when the story becomes unique. I thought reading about the 2016 election would upset me having to relive the sadness of Hillary’s loss to Trump again, but I really enjoyed the spin Sittenfeld did in those chapters and they were my favorite, especially the end!
All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore*
This was a cute debut story, but I think it would’ve been better if it just focused on Susan and her ex-boyfriend Chris than also having the side story of drama with her two sisters. I felt those parts really dragged the book down and I found myself skimming those. When Susan returns to Scotland to take over her grandfather’s last remaining restaurant, she has a tough path ahead of her with getting the staff on board to her changes to save it from financial ruin. She is also up against Chris, a now famous chef, opening a restaurant in the same town. Its a very slow burn romance, but I enjoyed how they came back into each other’s life and found ways to support each other through it all.
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
After reading The Bromance Book Club, I’m committed to read this series. This book follows Mack and Liv, who you are introduced to in The Bromance Book Club, but you can definitely read this as a standalone since it does at times explain what happened in the first book. When Liv gets fired after witnessing her boss in a compromising position with another employee, she is determined to expose the world to who he really is. Since he is a powerful chef, she can’t do it alone and Mack offers to help her, even though Liv fights him every step of the way. One of the problems I had with The Bromance Book Club is I found the character of Thea annoying after a while, but I enjoyed her sister Liv more. I found the dynamic between Liv and Mack much more authentic than Gavin and Thea in the first book. While I liked both books, I definitely enjoyed Undercover Bromance a little more.
The Player Next Door by K.A. Tucker
I’m trying to slowly work my way through some of Tucker’s other books since I loved The Simple Wild and Wild at Heart. While it won’t replace those two as my favorites, I did enjoy it. After graduation, Scarlet Reed leaves Polson Falls to escape her mother’s reputation and her heartbreak over Shane Beckett. She returns 12 years later after purchasing her dream home only to find out her next door neighbor is Shane. Scarlet wants nothing to do with him and Shane wants to start over, but Scarlet is not so sure she is ready to forgive him. The one problem I had with the story was I found Scarlet to be a little bit of a brat after a while when she would try to thwart all of Shane’s attempts to apologize. I enjoy second chance romances, and this one hit most of the marks for me. You can read my full review here.
The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I loved The Royal We when I read it a few years ago and could not wait to continue Bex and Nick’s story in The Heir Affair. When Grand Central Publishing sent me an advance copy of the book, I started reading it right away and thought it was a perfect follow up! I liked how much deeper this book went in the emotional struggles of Bex and Nick, where The Royal We at times feels too perfect, this felt more authentic. I’d love for this series to continue, even though I felt the ending of the book was satisfying. You can read my full review here.
The Last Flight by Julie Clark
The Last Flight had so many five star reviews so I was really looking forward to being taken on an edge of your seat ride, but found this book to be a let down. I found most of the twists underwhelming and I felt like the end of the book was very rushed. I did like both of the main characters, Claire and Eva and found them easy to root for to find a way to get out of the unfortunate situations they are both in.
Charming Falls Apart by Angela Terry*
After seeing the cover of Charming Falls Apart and reading the description, I thought I would enjoy this book, and I adored it! This comes out on August 4 and it is such a great debut from Angela Terry. Allison James’ life falls apart in a span of a few hours, she loses her job and when she gets home, her fiancé tells her he is leaving her for her maid of honor. As Allison starts to put her life back together she has to figure out if the life she thought she wanted is really what makes her happy.
I really enjoyed going on the soul searching journey with Allison and not just because we share a first name and have very similar jobs. I felt the anger of what she was going through with the rudeness of her ex-fiancé. You can’t help but root for her. I loved the character of Jordan, everyone needs a best friend like her in their life! And Eric, he was such a great guy, I was hoping him and Allison would find a way to be together.
* I received an ARC from either NetGalley or Edelweiss and the publisher, who provide me with a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions on the book are my own.